Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Funny Little Thing Called Perspective

Look, I’ll be honest, I’ve been so busy and too tired to be inspired about much. Christmastime is indeed a blessed season, but one also stuffed fatter than the dinner goose. I haven’t even put up the tree yet! And I’ve got guests coming!

Anyway, one word keeps coming up in the midst of the chaos – perspective.

One way to look at it is – things could be better, things could be worse.


But another way to look at it is summed up in the old saying (maybe you’ve heard it) – something about walking a mile in another person’s shoes.

Especially when we’re busy or tired or stressed, it is extremely difficult to see anything from anyone else’s perspective but our own. Our little personal world demands attention like a hungry toddler. Allowing compassion or forgiveness or forbearance or mercy into our action/reactions takes monumental effort.

But how many work squabbles, home hang ups, family gathering guffaws or random offenses be avoided if we took the time to look at the other side of the coin?

No, it doesn’t matter if the other person won’t do the same.

You do it.

And pray for God to show you the root of the conflict.

Mean, annoying, gruff hum-bugs most likely live a difficult life. Could be a rough marital relationship, a sick kid, a financial crisis, a failed dream, a keen disappointment, a sore tooth. And while unpleasant to weather on a daily basis, the sunshine might break if you are the one offering a smile, a kind word, or an attitude of grace instead of offense.

The issue doesn’t always have to be a bad thing, though. Another way to look at perspective is that everyone has one, and you can be sure that it is not the same one you have. Even if it’s similar, it won’t be the same. It’s like those cases you hear about eye-witnesses seeing the exact same event, and describing it in complete opposite terms. The unique life I’ve lived up until this very second throws its entire weight into my perspective, and that can’t be the exact same as anyone else on the planet. So when I am confronted with that different perspective, I need to, at the very least, take it into consideration.

I’m not saying we have to agree with everyone’s opinion just because they are looking at something from their unique perspective. But I am saying that in considering it, you’ll understand that person better, you’ll leave getting offended off the table, and you’ll find more room in your heart to extend forgiveness and grace.

As an example, let’s think of Jesus’ perspective when He stepped off His kingly throne and out of Heaven to put on flesh, become a man, and not only a human man but that in the form of a helpless child.

Stunning, if you ask me. And something I should absolutely ponder during this holiday season.

God bless, Dry Ground friends. Get that shopping done… only 10 days left!

(photos by